Robots have already come up as resources for picking and sorting in distribution and fulfillment centers. As robotic assistance has seen a tremendous increase in warehouse functions, there has been a considerable change in the design and plan of these warehouse building structure. Though 80% of all global logistic facilities are still operating manually, logistics companies have always found it difficult to employ enough technically savvy workers to fill the vacant positions. With the ever-evolving technology, customers have now got an array of options for prices, selections and delivery method for their fulfilling shopping experience. For most of the businesses, customer satisfaction will largely depend upon fulfillment capabilities.
Robots assistance is possibly one of the most viable options to overcome any fulfillment drawbacks. This will not only help in the automation of most of the warehouse functions but also will be time and cost saving. Retailers are ramping up automation in warehouses as they compete to deliver goods faster than ever. Businesses have realized the importance of operations strategy has on designing the working supply chain. Not only limited to better functionality, but robotic assistance has some additional benefits also. The fewer workforce will lead to fewer vehicles, in turn, a decrease in parking requirements. Parking occupies a major space of warehouse. Also, less space will be utilized for basic amenities like canteens and break areas.
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For warehouse automation, it becomes necessary to use a simple yet efficient ultrasonic and visual sensors to guide the robots. One of the simplest and human-friendly systems is KIVA, which was introduced by Amazon in 2009 has proven its effectiveness when it comes to environment sensing. According to market research firm Technavio, the global logistics robot market is expected to reach $2.15 billion by 2020, growing at about 32 percent compound annual growth rate.
One of the ideal examples of efficient robotic warehouse assistance in the Indian
market has been put forward by GreyOrange,an India based startup. The company has developed The Butlers robots, powered with goods to person system which involves robots navigating the warehouse via series of QR codes marked on the floor. They function through trackless navigation system that happens as the robots keep on scanning the QR codes as they pass over them, leading them wherever they need to go.
Increased warehouse automation has considerably affected its design as well. Some of the prominent changes to be noticed are listed here.
As robotic assistance has made it possible to have the lesser human workforce, the sizes of warehouses are likely to shrink. This will make the work more efficient as a lot of time is spent covering huge empty spaces within the warehouse itself. Also, warehouses will have increased heights, considering the fact that robots will be able to move around easily and could reach higher spaces than their human counterparts, thus letting you use the space more efficiently.
As robots can nowhere be compared to humans when it comes to weight, warehouses will have to designed to have higher weight bearing abilities. Warehouse structures will have to support higher loads and provide greater stability when compared to traditional warehouse designs.
Additionally, one of the basic and still most important requirements which will come in with increased automation will be energy requirements. Energy requirements will be higher both outside and inside the warehouse. Access to sufficient power is the central issue for effective work management in automated warehouses.